Free reading on today’s top environmental issues — From climate change to hazardous waste

Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, ...

Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, air pollution was not considered a national environmental problem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Climate change is something the Earth has experienced since its creation. Scientists first started theorizing about the reasons for these changes in the 19th century. Over the past 200 years, studies have highlighted the negative causes and effects of changes to our planet’s weather and the resulting environmental issues. Environmental and Earth sciences have become very hot topics in the last several decades, particularly relating to energy and the environment. As people and governments debate about the future of our planet, how we will provide energy and fuel for our citizens, and the dramatic shifts in the climate and weather patterns, we have all have begun to see the need for cooperation and education.

To take part in this ongoing conversation about ways to halt further environmental damage and take advantage of some free reading, Questia is sharing the top five most researched books and articles on climate change from our library. Each has been hand-picked by our librarians, and any one of them will give you insight into your next research paper on environmental issues.

The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate by David Archer

Think climate change means slightly hotter weather and a modest rise in sea levels? Think again. In The Long Thaw, David Archer, one of the world’s leading climatologists, predicts that if we continue to emit carbon dioxide, we may eventually cancel the next ice age and raise the oceans by 50 meters. Archer shows how just a few centuries of fossil-fuel use will cause not only a climate storm that will last a few hundred years, but also create dramatic climate changes that will last thousands of years. Archer argues that it is still not too late to avert dangerous climate change—if humans can find a way to work together.

WHO: Air Pollution a Continuing Health Threat in World’s Cities by Donya Currie

Air pollution is threatening health in many cities worldwide. According to World Health Organization data, in an article published in The Nation’s Health, more than 2 million people die yearly from breathing indoor and outdoor pollution. The WHO analyzed data from nearly 1,100 cities across 91 countries and found only a few meet the WHO air quality guideline for exposure to the most dangerous type of pollution particles. Calling for local action, national policies and international agreements to curb pollution, the agency believes the best way the information can be used is for cities to monitor their own trends in air pollution over time to identify and improve their interventions.

Fracking Fury by Janna Pallise

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking” or “hydrofracking,” has garnered a lot of attention from the media lately. Used first in the 1940s, hydraulic fracturing, or HF, has opened up new areas of gas development in natural gas reservoirs such as shale, coalbed and tight sands. Pallise’s article, published in Science Scope, focuses on HF in shale reservoirs and looks at the pros and cons of hydraulic fracturing in gas production, as well as the details behind the mechanics of the process.

Revisiting a Hazardous Waste Site 25 Years Later by Glenn Harris and Leah Nelson

In 1980, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which established the Superfund program to address the illegal disposal of hazardous waste. Two years after that, the Journal of Environmental Health published one of the earliest articles to report on a classic instance of “midnight dumping” and corporate abandonment leaving an orphaned hazardous waste site for others to deal with. Harris and Nelson take a look at what remedial actions were taken and what we can learn from the site, located in a rural area of the St. Lawrence River Valley in northern New York, adjacent to the Canadian border.

Genetically Modified Planet: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Plants by C. Neal Stewart Jr.

Genetically modified plants are currently causing controversy worldwide; a great deal has been written about their supposed environmental effects. However, the newspaper headlines and public debates often provide a level of reasoning akin to “this is your brain on genetically modified corn,” which is to say, they exclude or exaggerate the actual scientific research on the impacts of these plants. Genetically Modified Planet goes beyond the rhetoric to investigate for concerned consumers the actual state of scientific research on genetically modified plants. Stewart argues that while there are indeed real and potential risks of growing engineered crops, there are also real and overwhelmingly positive environmental benefits.

What are some of your environmental concerns? Let us know in the comments below.

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1 reply
  1. Mitch Seguin says:

    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions, or in the distribution of weather around the average conditions (i.e., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change is caused by factors that include oceanic processes (such as oceanic circulation), biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions, and human-induced alterations of the natural world.


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